Friday, October 31, 2008

Ice Racing

This is a photo of a pair of wheels that I built for ice racing years ago. I call them the "cheese grater" wheels. When I put them on the back of my Mustang they threw two rooster tails of ice chips 50' behind the car. Unfortunately that is about all they did, the car never moved very fast with them. Sadly this summer when we were cleaning up I had to throw them away.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Coal Miner

I got a new job in a coal mine.
Actually, I just spent the afternoon cleaning the soot out of someones furnace.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Boating in Ice?

I went out boating last week, the ocean is starting to freeze up. The salt water freezes differently than the fresh water that I grew up with. It gets sort of thick and slushy before it freezes. Sometimes the surface almost seems like rubber.

Monday, October 27, 2008

My Tanner

I have heard people say that, as a fur sewer, you develop a very special relationship with your tanner. The sort of relationship you have with your dentist or a family doctor. You trust them, are loyal to them and highly recommend them others. This is how I feel about my tanner, Angelo of Angelo's Tannery.

I first heard about him from someone who had had a good experience getting his musk ox hide tanned. He recommended a man named Angleo. Only a few tanneries will bother with the very long hair on a musk ox skin, and Angelo is one of them. So a few years ago, I sent him an old dried out hide that Brian Crockett had given me. Angelo did wonders for it. He soaked it in his special stuff and scrapped it, soaked it and scrapped it, until it was beautiful. It was the hide that would later become C.O.'s parka lining.

Angelo is wonderful in so many ways, he does beautiful work, has very good prices, does his work by hand, but the best thing about him, is his accent. He's from Greece you see, and has the most wonderful way of saying things. Both his accent and his phrases are adorable. For instance, shortly after sending him our most recent furs, Angelo called. One of the hides was not scrapped very well (we're far from being experts) and he would have to do some extra work and charge us $50 for his time.
"No problem," I said, "I understand."
"Yes, o.k., you are very wonderful lady," replied Angelo. =)

I'm so fond of him that I even sent him a Christmas card a couple years ago. If I should find myself in Clackamus, Oregon some day, my dream is to stop by and visit good ol' Angelo.

We recently sent off two hides to be tanned. They should be returned to us shortly. We just heard from Angelo and he said they look wonderful.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Open Mic Night

When 400 Bering Strait School District employees are stuck sleeping in the school, sharing 2 showers and 3 phones for 4 days, what do you do to keep them from going insane? Keep 'em busy, busy, busy. I've been running from event to event and have hardly had time to eat. Tonight was open mic night in the gym. I couldn't believe the great musical talent that's floating around the Seward Peninsula. John was one of the first to get up and perform. Of course I thought he did a great job. Turns out John's a natural performer. He started by playing a Finnish folk song and ended up playing quite a bit of classic rock with Terri, Chick and the band, "The Love Puppets".



One of the perks of Unalakleet in-service is the chance to see my brother John. I went out to eat last night with friends and when we walked into the pizza place I ran into Johnny. He just happened to be getting his hair cut. (The barber has a room just off of the restaurant. She cut John's hair then took our order.) Anyway . . . John was finishing up his haircut and this is the result.

Very tasteful as far as mohawks are concerned.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Gotcha Day

Today marks a very special day in the lives of the Rudstroms. One year ago today, we were in Guatemala and got Harold for the very first time. Yep, one year ago, we had been parents for about 8 hours. It was a crazy day, let me tell you. One minute it's just C.O. and I, the next minute we're parents. It was a lot less crazy of a day than giving birth of course. Having someone hand a baby to you is TONS easier than that whole birthing thing. Anyway . . .

Since I am actually in Unalakleet this week and spending this time away from my family, we celebrated Harold's gotcha day early. Over the weekend, we had a nice ham dinner with our teacher friends who all adore Harold.

Sandy and Harold liked their eggnog a bit too much.

"Harold the glutton."
Notice the TWO sippy cups. He insists upon having both a juice cup and a milk cup and he alternates between the two.

I have to say, life with Harold has been good. He's a perfect match for our family and brings so much joy to each day. I recommend getting a Harold to anyone.

PS If you haven't seen this video before, you should see it now. =)

Monday, October 20, 2008


Over the weekend Harold helped me haul some timbers home. The timbers are salvaged from our old tank farm that is being replaced. I am going to use them to lift my workshop up off the ground. Hopefully if the building is up off the ground enough the wind can blow under it and keep the snow from drifting as bad. The timbers are very heavy, 6"x 12" 16' long, heavily creosoted. The new four wheeler pulled them two at a time with no problem.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Guatemala Here We Come!

This morning I officially signed C.O. and I up for Spanish classes in Antigua, Guatemala. We will be staying with a family and have one on one tutoring for four hours per day. We will be taking classes from June 8th - June 26th, a total of three weeks. Our goal is to learn more Spanish, but in a very laid back environment. We chose short tutoring sessions intentionally and plan to travel and get to know Antigua while we practice our Spanish. When we were in Guatemala (nearly one year ago now) we took a day tour of Antigua and LOVED it! The photo to the right was taken that day. We are so excited to go back. We are going to be working with the Academia Colonial . I got an e-mail today from Sophia who works for the school. I wanted to share some of the descriptions she sent of their program.

"Location: Our school is only two blocks from Central Park in a safe neighborhood close to all the hotspots. The school is recently renovated and refurnished, providing a beautiful, comfortable environment that is conducive for learning. You may study in our courtyard, inside, or on our second floor balcony that over looks the mountains. We bake fresh bread daily (we're known to have some of the best banana bread in Antigua!) and provide coffee and tea – all complementary.

Education: We recruit some of the best teachers in Antigua. Many of our instructors have over 20 years of experience and have taught thousands of students just like you how to speak Spanish no matter your skill level. We teach everyone from absolute beginners to advanced conversationalists. Because the instruction is one-on-one, the course is adapted to your interests and needs. Our program is organized with clear daily and weekly goals for our students at all levels.

Activities: At Academia Colonial you will never be short of things to do nor people to do them with. We are always planning exciting activities for our students ranging from climbing active volcanoes to cooking or salsa dance classes. Most activities are free, others cost a few dollars in the case of transportation, entrance fees, or splitting the grocery bill for our cooking class/cook out! We also plan nights out as well as arrange weekend trips for our students. There are plenty of travel opportunities from Antigua: Pacific beach, high altitude lakes, horse back riding, surfing, scuba diving, you name it.

Family Stays: Our families are very carefully chosen. You will find the houses beautiful, clean, comfortable, and well located. You will have hot showers and delicious meals while getting a chance to practice your Spanish with an engaging family. Meals are provided three times a day except for Sunday. Most of our host families are within just a few blocks of the school."


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Iditarod Series

Discovery Channel is starting a new series called, "Toughest Race on Earth: Iditarod". It's a series that's close to home because, well, the Iditarod finish line is close to us but also because we know one of the mushers who is featured in the show. If you should happen to catch any of the episodes, keep an eye and an ear open for Rick Holt. He is a former employee of the Bering Strait School District. And though he's not a close friend or anything, I do know him, which is cool. He was a rookie in the '08 Iditarod race and has some pretty crazy stories about the journey.
The Iditarod Show will air every Tuesday evening, just after Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe.


Book Opening Tonight (10/16)

Hey, Northern MN folks! Do you have plans for this evening? If not and you'd like a nice evening out, here's a good opportunity for you. Our friend Aaron Brown’s new book, "Overburden: Modern Life on the Iron Range" is now available. The book opening is tonight, Thursday, Oct. 16 between 5-7 p.m. at Howard Street Booksellers in Hibbing. We really wish we could go show our support and congratulate Aaron on his accomplishment. But since we’re stuck in the frozen North, why don’t you do that for us?

Who’s Aaron Brown? He’s a smart, insightful, entertaining, writer. (I don’t put it as well as the numerous articles written about the book but . . .) You can get a taste of his writing style at He also writes weekly guest columns for the Hibbing Tribune and is a regular contributor to KAXE.

What exactly is this book about anyway? As Aaron explains it, “This book is a mix of personal stories, observations, interviews and history all driving toward the central theme of a unique region and people as they were, are and might become.”

Even if you can’t make it to the opening tonight, why don’t you go ahead and buy his book. (Unless you’re a close family member, then I just ordered a copy for your Christmas present.) It’s a great way to support a local guy and, though I haven’t read the book, I’m sure it's great. Ours is already on order.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Coincidence Part II

We're really not into the whole coordinating with another family members' wardrobe, but it happened to the boys again today.


Thursday, October 9, 2008

Picture of the Day - Bridge

Harold's first engineering project, he designed and built a bridge. I helped him with the design a little, but he did the construction all by himself.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

A Weekend in Nome

The price of airline tickets, like everywhere, are going up for bush flights. So we've decided that when we are going into and out of Nome, we'll drive as much as possible. That's easier said than done. The trip involves leaving home with the 4-wheeler, driving to the boat, packing up the boat, going 8 miles over the ocean to Teller then driving the highway that connects Nome and Teller. Our friend Kenny helped us out with the boating part of the journey, then once in Teller, we were able to borrow a friend's truck to drive into town. It all worked out well enough and we were in Nome by supper time on Friday. Once you're on the road, it's about an hour and a half drive.

Notice the difference in how the guys are dressed. Kenny is what you'd call acclimated.

Scenes from the Nome-Teller Highway.

Once we were in Nome, we stayed with our friends, James and Amy. They had good news for us as soon as we arrived. They're expecting their first baby in March, so we're very happy for them.

When you stay with James and Amy, they keep you busy. On Saturday, I joined Amy and her friends for water aerobics at the Nome High School pool, which was a lot of fun, even though there wasn't an instructor. The ladies were experienced and helped each other lead the class. After that, C.O., Harold and James joined us at the pool. In the evening, Amy and I went to see a movie. It's been ages since I've been to a movie theater. Then out for pizza at Milano's.

I think Amy and James worry about their dog, Chili scaring or hurting Harold, but we always say, kids and dogs will come to an agreement on their own. And it's true. Chili and Harold got along just fine.

On Sunday, we attended church, then had lunch at Airport Pizza. James and Amy were kind enough to watch Harold while we did some business around town. We stopped out to see our friends, Roger and Cheryl for a bit. Then stocked up on some fresh produce to take back with us. Let me tell you, we've been eating good since we got back. BLTs, salads, tacos, grapes etc. I even have 3 pumpkins and 2 squash. Yum!

When we got back, Harold was just waking from a nap. He had some pretty crazy hair for a while.

I think James and Amy will make good parents, don't you?

Then, home again, home again, jiggety jig.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Picture of the Day - Nome Trip

Here is AnnMarie and Harold at the start of our trip to Nome last weekend. We first boated to Teller, about 10 miles away. It is starting to get cold here, we had to break through a little ice in the lagoon. From Teller we borrowed a truck for the 75 mile drive into Nome. It is a wonderful drive along a single lane gravel road through the mountains. Traveling this way is a lot more interesting than a simple plane ride (and you don't have to pay $0.75 per pound for baggage).

Monday, October 6, 2008

Picture of the Day - No Tailgaters

Who would want to get closer than 50 feet to something like that?

Picture of the Day - Whale Tails?

I saw this on the back of a delivery truck at the auto parts store in Nome. Apparently they deliver more than just auto parts?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Picture of the Day - Blueberries

On our way back from the hot springs we stopped to pick some blueberrys. Around the Elim area they have high bush blueberrys. They are very easy picking, you hardly have to bend over and there are so many of them that you could fill your bucket without walking 50 feet.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

CNN Was Here

O.K. so CNN wasn't here, in Brevig, but they were close, only about 60 miles away from us. They did a 5 minute feature last night about Little Diomede during Anderson Copper's show. This is worth a watch if you'd like a glimpse into life in rural Alaska. It's similar to Brevig but even more remote and cut off from society (no TV internet etc.). I realize the point of the story is poking at Sarah's so called foreign policy experience but the reason I'm posting this is to show off some of the endearing qualities of rural Alaska.

It really isn't the most important thing who the governor is and it's totally believable that people don't know our governor's name. The clip of the school girl telling about Big Diomede being in Russia and then giggling, is very cute. Our kids are shy like that. I also LOVE the part when the guy is throwing his garbage in the ocean. When the incinerator is down, it's the only reasonable option out there. Environmentalist are totally going to dig that. When our friend was visiting Diomede, his host asked him to help take out the trash. They walked the the edge of the water and threw it in. It's an experience he'll never forget.